Is it a sin to leave Mass after Communion?

We’re told to arrive at Mass on time and stay until the very end, but have you ever had to leave Mass early? Did you wonder if that was sinful behavior?

“I have a moral dilemma this morning. My son, he goes to a Catholic school and he has Mass today at 8:15, they have an all-school Mass and he has a Mass part. However, my husband has to be to work at 9:30. My husband wants to go, too, but Mass starts at 8:15 and we might have to leave right after Communion. And I was just wondering if that would be a mortal sin? Or if he should just not go?” asked Britney, calling The Patrick Madrid Show from Arizona.

“If there’s some urgent need to leave before Mass is over, you’re not committing any sin in doing so. So, if you’re husband’s going to be late for work or he needs to catch a plane or something and you need to leave, that’s fine,” explained Patrick.

Though it’s acceptable to leave early if there is a specific need to do so, we should not make it a habit to leave after Communion. “Under normal circumstances, the ideal would be to leave until the final blessing and the final hymn, if there is one. So you don’t have to worry on that, you would not be committing a mortal sin. And it would be better to go to Mass and have to leave early than it would be to not got to Mass,” he said.

“Right, thank you. I really appreciate your help … I was looking it up online and I was like, I can’t get a clear answer here—I’m calling Patrick!” said Britney.

Listen to the conversation here:

For more from Patrick, tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show, weekdays at 9-noon ET / 6-9am PT on Relevant Radio®.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.